TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Gender Bias in Pronouns From:"Knox, Phebe" <pknox -at- CADMUS -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 18 Dec 1995 08:57:48 EST
Greetings back to Bavarian Alex von Oberen (not sure if I
got that spelling right, excuse me if not): a most
interesting reply to our fracas on gender-neutral language,
saying that the same issue has surfaced there, including
gimmicky "fixes" such as our s/he, for example LehrerInnen.
You say you can't pronounce that, and it's true both s/he
and LehrerInnen (for male and female teachers) are only for
writing; in speaking one would have to revert to using both
words with "or" in both languages.
But I wonder whether it is reasonable for the people who
already have the advantage to claim that keeping the
masculine form for women as well as men is "correct."
Perhaps since women are the ones objecting and the only
ones injured, we are the ones who can best judge the old
way's "correctness." And frankly, folks, I think we've all
voted: we hate it.
How about a compromise? For the next 300 years let's use
only feminine pronouns, and they will include the masculine!
Why not? It the one is "correct," guys, why not the other?
Then we can switch back. Turn about is fair play!